COURTESY S.F. ARTS COMMISSIONMaddy Clifford is a teaching  artist with WritersCorps

COURTESY S.F. ARTS COMMISSIONMaddy Clifford is a teaching artist with WritersCorps

WritersCorps celebrates 20 years of changing lives

WritersCorps, a program that teaches creative writing to young people to help them express themselves and succeed academically, is going strong as it enters its third decade.

“It helps them reflect, engage, think critically and work in collaboration with other students,” says Maddy Clifford, a WritersCorps teaching artist and writer-in-residence at San Francisco’s Juvenile Justice Center who is participating in the program’s 20th anniversary celebration Thursday at the Contemporary Jewish Museum.

Clifford, also a poet (and rapper MADlines, who has a new album “Love Child”), says WritersCorp has shown her the power of the arts, and that “creative writing in particular is an essential part of young people’s learning process.”

She adds, “WritersCorps fully supports its teaching artists, so that we are very successful in the work that we do.”

Tom DeCaigny, director of cultural affairs for the San Francisco Arts Commission, calls WritersCorps – a project of the commission and the S.F. Public Library – an “exceptional program that continues to transform the lives of young people year after year.”

WritersCorps places professional writers in schools, libraries, detention facilities and community centers. Over two decades, it has served about 20,000 people, ages 6 to 22, including low-income, immigrant and incarcerated youths.

Co-presented by the Contemporary Jewish Museum, Thursday’s event, “WritersCorps Live: 20 Years of Youth Voices,” features poetry readings by former and present WritersCorps students from Sanchez Elementary School, College Track, Hilltop School, Juvenile Hall, and elsewhere. Teaching artists Sandra Garcia Rivera and Rose Tully also appear.

Special guest is award-winning novelist NoViolet Bulawayo, who will read from her 2013 debut “We Need New Names,” which was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize.

Clifford has two students collaborating on a presentation for Thursday: Brianna, 17, a Gateway School student who plans to study music and hopes to rap and become a recording artist, and Aleja, 14, a Bay School student, who has been writing for years and wants to attend Stanford University, probably to study digital media and comedy. At press time, the two had not finalized their poetry piece. Clifford is not concerned: “It’ll just have to be a surprise,” she says.

For National Poetry Month in April, WritersCorps is sponsoring kiosks in public libraries where people can create live poetry. Visit for details.


WritersCorps Live: 20 Years of Youth Voices

Where: Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission St., S.F.

When: 6:30 p.m. March 26

Tickets: Free

Contact: 415) 655-7851,,

artsbooksMaddy CliffordWritersCorpsWritersCorps Live: 20 Years of Youth Voices

Just Posted

Dominion Voting Systems, a Denver-based vendor, is under contract to supply voting machines for elections in San Francisco. (Kevin N. Hume/Examiner file)
Is San Francisco’s elections director impeding voting machine progress?

Open source technology could break up existing monopoly

The 49ers take on the Packers in Week 3 of the NFL season, before heading into a tough stretch of divisional opponents. (Courtesy San Francisco 49ers)
‘Good for Ball’ or ‘Bad for Ball’ — A Niners analysis

By Mychael Urban Special to The Examiner What’s the first thing that… Continue reading

Health experts praised Salesforce for keeping its Dreamforce conference at Moscone Center outdoors and on a small scale. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Happy birthday, Marc Benioff. Your company did the right thing

Salesforce kept Dreamforce small, which made all kinds of sense

ose Pak and Willie Brown at an event in 2014. 
Rose Pak and Willie Brown at an event in 2014.
Willie and Rose: An alliance for the ages

How the Mayor and Chinatown activist shaped San Francisco, then and now

The Grove in Golden Gate Park is maintained largely by those who remember San Francisco’s 20,000 AIDS victims.<ins> (Open Eye Pictures/New York Times)</ins>
Looking at COVID through the SF prism of AIDS

AIDS took 40 years to claim 700,000 lives. COVID surpassed that number in 21 months

Most Read